North London Neighbors Arsenal and Tottenham Suffer Against Heavyweights
In the matches where Manchester United hammered Arsenal by a score of 8-2 while Manchester City demolished Spurs 5-1 on Sunday, both Wenger and Redknapp set their teams out to be too attacking and too open. Both managers will need to bring in several players to stop the suffering. The horrible performance will linger on with both sets of players as they wait two weeks to play their next Premier League match.
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Let’s start with the Gunners. Arsenal’s defenders were torn to shreds by the Red Devils. Manchester United put eight past an Arsenal side that started players like Carl Jenkinson, Francis Coquelin, and Armand Traore. Jenkinson, in particular showed a lack of awareness as well as poor positioning. To be fair, this was a reserve side for Arsene Wenger, who was missing eight players. That is not an excuse for allowing eight goals.
Tottenham were dreadful against Manchester City at White Hart Lane. Edin Dzeko had his way in the Spurs penalty area, with David Silva and Samir Nasri as the architects of the attack. To add make matters worse, Rafael van der Vaart had to leave the match with a torn hamstring after Harry Redknapp had used up his three substitutions.
Both Arsene Wenger and Harry Redknapp showed a poor sense of tactics and possibly reality on Sunday. They should have realized that their opponents had a far better squad. Instead of setting up more defensive than usual, Wenger and Redknapp decided to let their team play attacking football, which left them exposed.
When most clubs visit Old Trafford or face the revamped Manchester City, the manager elects to put more men behind the ball. Maybe an extra holding midfielder is implemented, or maybe a skillful winger who cannot defend is left off the squad sheet. Arsenal and Tottenham did not alter their tactics one bit against clearly better teams.
With only three league games gone by (and two for Spurs), this is not the time to sack a manger. Harry Redknapp seems to be coddled in the English press, while Wenger takes a daily beating by the tabloids. Maybe it is because Redknapp gives better quotes, or that he calls up the radio talk shows. Either way, both Wenger and Redknapp, despite their poor decisions on Sunday, deserve more time to turn around their side.
What Spurs supporters are worried about is the potential departure of Luka Modric. The loss of Modric is not what troubles the Tottenham fans. It is how late the negotiations are going. If Spurs sell him for L40 million to Chelsea, then there will be little time to reinvest that cash into the squad. No Tottenham supporters want to see a repeat of the Dimitar Berbatov saga.
Arsenal need to purchase three or four players if they wish to compete with the top clubs. Wenger needs a center-back, striker, midfielder, and left back. The Gunners suffered the humiliating defeat to Manchester United because of their lack of squad depth. Sure, they were missing loads of players, but the replacements on the bench are mostly inexperienced teenagers making their Premier League debuts.
In reality, both clubs need to bring in several players to challenge the top tier. Redknapp and Wenger will have to work quickly with transfer deadline day coming on Wednesday.
The international break comes at a bad time for both North London clubs. Both have suffered embarrassing failures, and they now must wait two weeks to try and bounce back. Many footballers will say that they want to play a match mid-week right after a huge loss. But Tottenham and Arsenal will have that terrible taste in their mouths for quite a while, and they are in a heap of trouble.